For immediate release: Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Denis Theriault, Multnomah County Communications, email@example.com
PORTLAND – Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury on Wednesday, April 27, announced a new strategy – along with a public recruitment push – meant to encourage landlords with available apartments to step up and quickly help house hundreds more neighbors experiencing homelessness who might otherwise remain stuck in shelters or on the street with nowhere else to go.
That initiative – called “Move-In Multnomah” – follows months of planning by the Joint Office of Homeless Services. Chair Kafoury unveiled the effort at a media event alongside Shannon Singleton, the Joint Office’’s interim director. They were joined by a landlord, a front-line caseworker, and a leader from a community service provider.
Move-In Multnomah offers interested landlords a series of newly available incentives and supports, alongside a promise to rapidly connect those landlords to community service providers and their clients in need.
“I believe in both/and solutions to homelessness. I’ve helped lead the single largest shelter expansion in our history, and now it’s time to supercharge our work ensuring people have a place to go after, or instead of, shelter,” Chair Kafoury said. “People need stable housing. Landlords have vacant units. We can cover the rent and keep people stable. So let’s work together. Because no apartment should sit unoccupied while our neighbors are fighting for survival outside.”
Landlords who fill out a new, streamlined application form by June 30 – available through multco.us/movein – will receive the following benefits:
- Rent guarantees for up to 12 months (duration of a lease)
- Holding fees to cover rents for vacant units while a tenant is being secured
- A hotline for housing providers to connect with tenant case managers if needed
- Damage coverage: Resources to cover damages beyond the cost of the security deposit
Any property owner with housing units available for rent can participate. The units do not need to be certified for low-income tenants or Section 8. Landlords must only be willing to provide available units at market rate and also work to reduce certain screening criteria that might limit someone’s options as they leave homelessness.
The goal is to overcome one of the most significant barriers people face when working to end their homelessness: finding not just a landlord with an available unit, one of thousands on the market on any given day, but also one who’s willing to rent it out.
Move-In Multnomah will accomplish that by building on the Joint Office’s ongoing work successfully helping to house thousands of people every year, offering a mix of rent assistance and support services such as case management and treatment. Some housing placements are in designated affordable units, but many are in apartments already on the market.
Tenants placed with landlords who sign up through Move-In Multnomah will work with the same housing services providers already contracting with the Joint Office.
Funding for the new incentives is made possible by revenue from the Supportive Housing Services measure, which first became available this fiscal year. That measure, along with surplus revenue from the County and City of Portland’s business income tax, is helping the Joint Office dramatically expand services in the face of rising need driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
By June 30, thanks to newly opened shelters and the lifting of pandemic limits at certain spaces, the Joint Office will be supporting roughly 2,100 shelter beds. The office is requesting funds to support nearly 2,700 next fiscal year. That would roughly double the number available in January 2020, before COVID-19.
At the same time, between July 1 and Dec. 31, 2021, the Joint Office and its providers housed 1,780 people out of homelessness. And they helped thousands of others – adults, families with children, seniors, people with disabilities – who’d been housed in previous months remain in those homes.